We’re excited to announce Alex Houghtalin has joined Access Venture Partners as a Senior Associate! Alex has deep experience in business strategy research, advisory and social entrepreneurship.
Like many others, I rushed to Colorado in the early days of the pandemic to escape the tumult happening in east coast cities. The decision to put down roots, however, was catalyzed by the incredibly welcoming local entrepreneurial community.
To that point, I had spent my career at the Harvard Business School working on business strategy research and advisory alongside Michael Porter, one of the legends in the field. While best known for his frameworks for analyzing industries and companies (e.g., Five Forces, Value Chain), I had the great privilege of contributing to Michael’s new bodies of work looking at strategy for evolving technologies, social impact strategy, and even a badly needed strategy for non-partisan political system reform.
Although seemingly disparate topics, an important unifying idea connects all of this work – that business is the most powerful force for good we have as a society, and that strategy is the tool that allows us to shape our future for the better.
While it was rewarding to have my hand in thought leadership that influenced strategy at the highest levels of the corporate world, I felt a strong pull toward people that were not happy with incremental progress – the entrepreneurs that are relentlessly pursuing disruptive solutions to real, human problems and creating jobs and economic opportunity in the process.
It came as no surprise to me that Denver ranks #5 on the best US ecosystems for social entrepreneurship and #1 in terms of the best people powering social enterprises. While many impactful companies may not even consider themselves a “social enterprise,” adding value to the world is built into the DNA of our startup community – from Guild Education transforming upskilling to GoodBuyGear enabling sustainable consumption, and countless others. Disrupting the status quo takes more than just big ideas, it takes community, collaboration, and an openness to bring along anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves. The Colorado startup ecosystem has those in spades and it shows.
I have been welcomed with open arms as I explored different sides of entrepreneurship over the past two years at CU Leeds School of Business, working with Techstars Boulder and Terraseed, and then falling in love with venture through the Deming Center Venture Fund. I am so grateful to have found a home at Access Venture Partners with people who share my passion for helping companies that will positively impact both Colorado and the world at large, and I look forward to bringing my background in strategic thinking and analysis to help AVP find the people and technologies that will create transformative value.